It’s been a long while since I’ve done a spot of baking. Oddly enough, this period of kitchen absenteeism has seen me eating more cakes and sweets than ever before, thanks to the local pâtisserie shop down the road. I’m pretty sure I have become their best customer since the birth of our baby girl; once a place where I would shop mainly for our daily bread, I now also add croissants, brioches
Smoked salmon is, admittedly, not an everyday ingredient, but I do love to keep some in the fridge for a quick lunch with some lightly buttered white toast, thinly sliced onions, a scattering of salty capers and a good squeeze of lemon. But when I’m wanting to incorporate smoked salmon into a more substantial meal, this Potato, Smoked Salmon & Dill Tart is a lovely option.
One of my favourite snacks when I lived in Australia were cheese scrolls from the local bakery. In fact, as a child of parents who ran a busy Vietnamese bakery, I often lived for the moment when the cheese scrolls came fresh out of the oven. Even better when there were onions in the mixture. My parents also made pizza scrolls as a variation, but I had a soft spot for just the
As an Australian married to a Frenchman, could there be a more perfect cake to represent the union of our two cultures than the madelamington, a French madeleine dressed up as an Australian lamington? No, I didn’t come up with this name, but I am rather disappointed that I didn’t coin this term myself. In fact, as a frequent baker and consumer of madeleines and lamingtons, I wonder how the idea of marrying
Regular readers will know that I am a big fan of Irish cook, Rachel Allen. So when her new cookbook, Cake, was recently released, I promptly ordered it online and eagerly awaited its arrival in my mailbox. I did secretly wonder how it would compare to her other baking handbook, simply called Bake, which I have used quite frequently in recent years. But as it is not unusual for one of her books
On a recent trip to London, I was reminded of my fond affection for Devonshire Tea, essentially a scone served with jam and cream. In fact, my desire for a daily scone fix made me brave enough to venture into a café on my lonesome most afternoons, just so I could sit down to a proper cup of tea with a plate of warm scones. There is nothing more restorative if you have
I had a sudden inkling to make crumpets the other day, somewhat unusual because I was only ever a mild fan of these yeasted breads when I was a child. My memories of crumpets are of the shop-bought kind which were round, thick and spongy in texture. Once lightly toasted, a generous slather of butter was obligatory, as was a good dollop of runny honey or jam. As a child, perhaps the allure
I love savoury cakes and this particular recipe is a firm favourite of mine. Given my New Year’s resolution to cook more vegetarian food, this has frequently been in the form of vegetable soups. After several days of eating rich food like Meatballs in Red Wine Sauce or Boeuf Bourguignon with Baguette Dumplings, a simple and soothing bowl of soup is a great way to restore the body’s balance. But those who know
I can’t say that I have always been a fan of carrot cake. Growing up, the idea of a cake with a vegetable component didn’t sound very appealing to me. And coupled with the fact that most carrot cakes I had tried were on the dry, dense and healthy-tasting side, I couldn’t really understand what all the fuss was about. But in recent years, fellow foodie friends have steered me onto the path
I have long been a fan of Nigel Slater, his books having been instrumental in my initial forays into the kitchen, along with Nigella Lawson and, dare I say it, the Australian Women’s Weekly. One of my favourite cookbooks would have to be Appetite, a hefty book filled with amazingly delicious recipes but provided in a manner that encourages the cook to develop some intuition in the kitchen. Rather than call for, say,
I had an inkling to make waffles for breakfast this morning, and upon waking to see the snow falling heavily outside, thus meaning a day of welcome indoor activity, I set about humming in the kitchen. But faced with a slight over-supply of bacon in the fridge, it was time to turn my usual waffles sprinkled with icing sugar into something more savoury at breakfast.
This is another fabulous recipe from Rachel Allen’s Home Cooking. In fact, this was the first recipe I tried from this book. I love marinated and grilled chicken and am always on the lookout for new recipes, though I think my mum makes the best version which I have tried endlessly to recreate and which comes close but, of course, it can’t quite compare. Like most Vietnamese mothers, mine works from taste memory
Risotto always makes for a nice, comforting meal during the week. Yes, it takes a bit of time and requires a bit of stove-side attention, but I find the constant stirring to be rather relaxing, especially after a busy day at work when the time spent doing something mindless and repetitive can be rather therapeutic. But perhaps we all don’t have this luxury of time to quietly meditate over the stove, or –
I find it rather comical that I often look to non-Asian chefs for inspiration on Asian dishes. Take Bill Granger, for example. Most of his savoury recipes are Asian-influenced and, whilst they may not correspond exactly to what is served in Chinatown, they always taste fabulous. In fact, he has a way of scaling down and simplifying recipes so that the dish still reminds you of the traditional version, but it employs the
The past week has been rather stressful for me and I have been longing for some comfort food in the form of home-baked cookies. And for some reason, ginger snap biscuits were on my mind. I’m not sure why because I haven’t eaten ginger snap biscuits since … at least 5 years ago when I left Australia?? A quick flick through some of my cookbooks and I found a nice and simple recipe
I have to admit that I haven’t really been into waffles until quite recently. As a child growing up in Australia, my memories of waffles were of those pre-made, pre-packaged ones sold in the bakery section of the supermarket. Not very enticing. As I grew older and acquired more stamps in my passport, I recall visiting stands in Paris where they would make waffles fresh to order, your eyes looking on hungrily and
I would prefer to call this Poor Man’s Dinner but the truth is that I have countless meals which go by the same name! For me, a Poor Man’s Dinner is anything that is made from bits and pieces in the fridge and pantry, or which are made from really simple and cheap ingredients. Last night’s dinner was a Potato, Carrot & Celery Soup, simply made by sautéeing 4 small potatoes, 2 small carrots
I think it’s hard to improve on a simple roast chicken, but the moment I tried it Thomas Keller’s way, I think it will be hard to prepare a roast chicken any other way! Earlier this year, my husband and I spent 4 amazing days in Las Vegas. As with any trip to a new city, I always research the food and restaurants in the area beforehand, planning most of our meals long
Here is another fabulous recipe from Rachel Allen’s Home Cooking. I made the American Buttermilk Pancakes more out of curiousity because I wanted to compare them with Nigella’s American Pancakes from Nigella Bites. Nigella’s recipe is what I use almost everytime because I love that they always turn out thick and fluffy. Rachel Allen’s recipe turned out quite well. The pancakes rose a lot on cooking and they have a much more light
This recipe comes from Rachel Allen’s Home Cooking. As much as I adore coconut macaroons, I have actually never made them before. I’ve been eyeing Nigella’s recipe in How to Be a Domestic Goddess for ages but I’ve never had cream of tartar to hand (it’s not available where I live). But when I saw how simple Rachel Allen’s recipe was, I was interested to try it, not least out of curiosity.